Putting Faces to Characters

Totally got tagged by Tex Thompson on this questionnaire, an amazing writer who’s about to start a blog hop for her first western. Thought it’d be a nice break from the typical NaNo updates, and let me reflect a bit on how this book came about to begin with.

What is your working title of your book?

For right now at least, it’s Smoke and Witchcraft. It’s book two in my adventure series, and it’s been a blast so far to write.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Multiple areas really. I was finishing up the edits for the fist book, Ghosts of Pikes Peak, and wondered what it would look like if the story continued. Then I started thinking about what areas would be neat to see them in, and I started remembering how much I’ve loved New Orleans. Add some zombies, some magic, and the plot started falling together. I actually had a completely different novel I had planned to tackle over NaNo, but these guys wouldn’t let me.

What genre does your book fall under?

I’m reluctant to call this series a western, simply because this book doesn’t take place in the west at all. However the characters are all plucked from there. They’re cowboys and gunslingers mostly, and some of them have supernatural powers too. Most of the trouble they find themselves in is due to their own issues, not due to a lack of ability. They’ll underestimate a situation, or assume they know what’s going on, and get thrown for a loop when everything goes crazy.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Oh my goodness this is a tough one! I’m not usually one to look up actors for my books, mostly because I think of them based on their personality instead of appearances, but here it goes.

Main Trio:

Colton Fen – Quiet gunslinger type but with raw werewolf fury when push comes to shove. Someone like Russel Crowe probably has the look down, but I don’t know if he’s got the flexibility to take the different angles with Colton. This guy goes between being a male chauvinist to falling for Mary in the first book. He’s got good intentions, but he doesn’t always think things through. In a lot of ways he’s the most naive member of the group, even though he’s probably the most powerful.

Russell Crowe as the quiet werewolf with a gun.

Rennick Dalton – I’ll be honest, this guy is loosely inspired by Lestat from Vampire Chronicles, and he even dresses a bit like him. Tom Cruise did an excellent portrayal of him in Interview with the Vampire, so something along those lines would probably work. An actor, a half vampire, he’s pushing 80 but looks like he’s closer to 20. Someone with the look of Taylor Kitsch would be perfect for this. Again this would be a fun role, and really has room for amusing melodrama.

Taylor Kitsch as the entertaining half-vampire.

Mary Silva – Fierce gunslinger who’s not afraid to tell you what she thinks. Used to be in a relationship with Rennick, but has recently hooked up with Colton instead. Makes for much amusing banter and awkward situations. She and Rennick are still good friends, though she’s not sure what in the world she ever saw in him. An actress who used to work under Rennick at a theater in Texas. I think I was channeling Salma Hayek quite a bit when I was writing her. I don’t really specify her origins much in the storyline, but I could easily see her being Hispanic.

Salma Hayek as the crack shot actress.

The Villain:

Solomon Matthews – Very much a mix between Anthony Hopkins and Mad Eye Moody with a calm, homicidal streak. He’s a sadist who has found a lifestyle that excuses that “personality quirk”. I could actually see Sean Bean having a blast in this role, and he could totally rock the trench coat and cowboy hat. Solomon has a disturbing calm about him, that can quickly give away to the crazy just underneath.

Sean Bean as the calm, homicidal hunter.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A werewolf, a half-vampire, and a gunslinger fight against a necromancer and a crazed hunter in the swamplands of 1890s Louisiana.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Here’s hoping I can get it represented by an agency. I don’t have an agent yet, or a publishing house, but after this NaNo I’ll be fixing up book 1 to find a home.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Hehe, so far it’s been 20 days, and as of right now is unfinished. I’m thinking it’s going to be around the 80k mark. Book 1 was far shorter, closer to 60k. I wrote that one partially for NaNo and went through it like a breeze. This one has been giving me more trouble, mostly because I’m trying to keep historical New Orleans accurate. I’m hoping to do more fact-checking come editing time.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Oh my goodness, I’ve been trying to find something that’s similar to this world. I’m leaning toward Jim Butcher simply for the action and humor. He has a solid mixture of magic, supernatural, and action that works really well. The look and feel of the world and characters is closer to the Dark Tower series I think, but it’s definitely a hard book to categorize. I’ve picked up a few supernatural westerns trying to find a good comparison for when I sit down to tackle the query letter.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My love of New Orleans, necromancy, werewolf hunters, and zombies. Plus I enjoyed writing these characters so much that I had to start another adventure with them.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Though they haven’t shown up yet, zombie alligators are on the horizon. That idea alone has prompted far more interest among my friends and family than I had expected.

Rennick is an illusionist, meaning he can create solid figures out of thin air. That plus his supernatural speed might make him a bit OP for this world, but he’s kind of easily distracted, and arrogant, and childish. In short, he’s the best and worst partner to have when you’re stuck in a bind. He’s a great resource for them for all things magical, but he’s also the most likely to get them into trouble whenever possible.

So here are a bunch more writers I’m officially tagging with this post!

  • Kelley – She’s writing a Victorian horror mystery that just sounds incredible. If only she didn’t have piles of paperwork to finish. Maybe this will give her some inspiration!
  • Astrea – Who has taken the plunge to find an agent, and I’m waving as many pom-poms I can to give her luck!
  • Ruth – She’s been an amazing inspiration this NaNo! Plus I’m dying to see what her plot synopsis looks like.
  • Jessica – Who has been AFK for a bit, but I KNOW she’s got something in the works.

One thought on “Putting Faces to Characters

  1. Pingback: (I’ve been tagged… again.) « astrea baldwin

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